The Financial Times recently said that the internet is now “more sociable than searchable”, with Facebook having overtaken Google to become the most-visited website, in the US at least. According to Hitwise.com, Facebook.com attracted 7.07 per cent of all web traffic in the week ending 13th March, compared to Google.com’s 7.03 per cent.
Facebook continues to grow at an astounding rate and has seen its market share of visits rise by 185 per cent over the year, and could be proof that social networking is becoming the top reason for using the internet, although Google toolbar searches were not included in the statistics.
With Facebook gaining ever more members daily and becoming a tool that can be used for almost any purpose (such as running a competition) Google has had to respond. Its Buzz product provides a lot of the same services as Facebook, just as Facebook recognises the importance of enhancing its search capabilities.
As companies begin to realise the ever-increasing opportunities provided by social media and increase their presence on such sites, so the likes of Facebook are set to grow more important as single sources for most web needs. Programs like DeskTube will just make it easier to integrate these into computing life. Add socialising tools to information hubs, especially for younger users, and Google will have to keep innovating on several fronts to maintain its position.
It is likely though that there will always be a need for all-encompassing search engines like Google and Yahoo! – after all a recent report showed that search engines still had many times more referrals than social networks. Certainly, Google is no longer the only company looking “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”